A Whitehorse businessman is using his downtown print shop to mentor young people creating art.

"There's a lot of artistic youth out there," said Lancelot Burton, who owns Yukon Apparel. "One of the programs we're trying to do here is promote young artists."

Lancelot Burton

'Art has always been a healing element. It’s been an attraction, for kids to share their emotions,' said Yukon Apparel owner Lancelot Burton. (CBC)

Burton's shop prints posters, signs, t-shirts and other graphic material for a variety of clients. He hires and trains young people and also works with youth who simply drop in to his store with creative ideas.

"They come in and then they can print them off, and then they can either sell them in the store, or they can peddle them in the street, however they wish... it could be a business opportunity for them."

Ashley Duchesne has been working with Burton for about a year, learning the art of graphic reproduction. She calls it a "crazy learning curve".

Ashley Duchesne

Duchesne shows off a t-shirt she just made, featuring an image by local artist Jim Robb. (CBC)

"I've learned a lot with him, I've learned a lot of patience, dealing with people and how to make them happy, and just printing, and like colour schemes," Duchesne said.

'It's all coming together'

Burton's ultimate goal, he said, is "to get youth out of poverty."

Besides running the print shop, he's the director of the non-profit Youth of Today Society which has a youth drop-in centre above Yukon Apparel.

Having all these projects under one roof is the culmination of many years of work.

"It's all coming together. It's taken a really long time and it's pretty exciting," Burton said.

"I've seen young people go from breaking the law to being leaders in their communities. I'm not necessarily saying that's us, but we're part of that fabric. I'm proud to be part of that fabric."